How to Deal With Difficult Clients

By MBO Partners | August 25, 2020

Share
How to Deal With Difficult Clients

Managing relationships with your clients can be one most difficult aspects of transitioning to the independent workforce. Even if you are a seasoned independent professional, you may find yourself in a frustrating situation: your client relationship is strained and you’re not sure how to handle it.

When working closely with a client on a project that is of high importance to them, an extended deadline, misconstrued expectations, or a strategy disagreement can cause tension. Here are five ways to handle common consultant-client relationship roadblocks.

1. In Cases of Scope Creep, Refer to Your Contract

Before you start any work, you and your client should have a detailed contract in place. The contract should outline the specific work you will be producing, the timeline for the work, and the exact amount of compensation.

When a client asks you to add 20 minutes of work here, or an extra round of edits there, beware of scope creep. These little favors can quickly add up to a lot of additional work. If you’re asked to perform above and beyond the terms of your original negotiated contract, simply refer the client back to it. Discuss appropriate extra charges for additional tasks. This will allow you to finish the project as originally discussed and avoid being undercharged for the value you provide.

2. Maintain Weekly Updates

When working with a difficult client, communication is of the utmost importance. For example, if a client is constantly checking in to ask about the status of a project, set communication boundaries by establishing a set schedule. Let the client know you will update them via phone or email on a specific day of the week and then follow through. They will gradually learn to trust you more and worry a little less.

3. Track Your Interactions

Occasionally, a client may try and veer off course from what you’ve verbally agreed on. Whenever possible, get agreements in writing and then save email or chat exchanges. If you speak with a client on the phone, send a follow-up email to confirm what you discussed. These documents will serve as proof of what you’ve agreed to and will help keep your project on course.

4. Maintain Mutual Respect

Finding the perfect consultant-client match where you have a mutual agreement and understanding about everything is rare. Remember, both you and your client bring different strengths and weaknesses to the relationship.

For example, if you have a client who is technologically adverse, it can be easy to get frustrated—especially if you’re used to communicating by email. Rather than patronizing a client who has trouble using technology, take time to walk them through necessary procedures and be sure to ask for input on their area of expertise. Likely you can both learn a lot from each other.

5. Recognize That It Is Okay to Walk Away

Although it’s usually better to try and negotiate with clients and work out your problems, sometimes you have to cut your losses and walk away. If attempts at a compromise have been unsuccessful, or if a project or client is truly not the right fit for you, it is okay to respectfully exit. Prioritizing your business and reputation will be better for your career in the long run rather than sticking out a bad situation.


Find independent consulting jobs with top companies through MBO’s marketplace

Join Today!


Related Posts

6 Legal Rights of 1099 Contractors

10 Legal Rights of Independent Contractors and 1099 Workers

July 14, 2022

A guide to the rights you have as an independent contractor.

consultants walking together

4 Reasons to Turn Down a Project

June 30, 2022

Turning down a project may not be your first inclination, but it is sometimes the best choice. If you’re new to self-employment, it can be tempting to accept every potential project that comes your way. After all, clients and the projects they provide are your sources of income. But just because an opportunity is presented…

How to Stay Motivated When You Work from Home

How to Stay Motivated When You Work from Home

June 29, 2022

Staying motivated can be hard if you work from home. Self-employment is many people’s dream come true. You get to set your own hours, work where you like, and be your own boss. But all that time spent alone can quickly take an emotional toll and it’s easy to lose motivation and energy when you…

Trending

Tags

Learn more about the MBO Platform

FOR INDEPENDENT
PROFESSIONALS

Start, run, and grow

your independent business with MBO

FOR
ENTERPRISES

Engage, scale, and optImize

your independent workforce